Drivers advised to beware parking meter scam

Published: Friday, July 7, 2023

  • Thieves currently targeting motorists in Putney & Tooting
  • Using distraction tactics to steal bank cards  
  • Be on your guard if approached by strangers while using a parking machine 

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Drivers are being warned to be on their guard against thieves loitering by parking machines and stealing bank cards.

There have been a number of thefts reported this week in Putney and near Tooting’s St George’s Hospital which indicate criminal gangs are targeting these areas.

They loiter by parking machines and use a range of tactics to distract people so they can steal their bank cards, having persuaded them to reveal their PIN numbers.

The scammers convince their victims that the parking machine has “swallowed” their bank card - but this is a lie. Parking machines cannot “swallow” or retain bank cards. If your card goes missing while using a parking machine, then you have been a victim of theft and should immediately cancel your card.

If anyone approaches you when you are paying for parking, please be cautious and never insert your card into a parking machine when someone you do not know is present. The fraudsters often target older residents. If you know an older driver, please warn them to be careful.

There are alternative methods of paying for your parking online or by phone that means you do not have to use cash or credit cards. Find out more here.

If you have been a victim of fraud, please cancel your card immediately and contact Action Fraud on

In an emergency call 999 or report a crime by calling 101 or online at